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Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa La Fortuna Costa Rica Review

Tabacon Resort and Spa Hot Springs

For an ultra-romantic, incredibly relaxing, and true treat-yourself trip, look no further than Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, a luxury oasis in La Fortuna Costa Rica. Tucked in a lush rainforest near Arenal Volcano National Park, this five-star hotel is most famous for its stunning natural hot springs. 

The vision for this 103-room property began in 1991 with architect Jaime Mikowski, who wanted to harness the powerful Tabacón River for wellness purposes. The result is Costa Rica’s finest thermal spa, energized by 18 hot springs feeding into the resort’s rejuvenating pools and lagoons.

I chose Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa for a romantic couples vacation to Costa Rica, where the only goal was to relax. Although Tabacon is a splurge-worth destination, I thought it was worth the money. This is my honest review. 

Tabacón Thermal Resort Rooms

Suite with plunge pool at Tabacon Resort and Spa

I stayed in the Honeymoon Suite with Plunge Pool, which features a private plunge pool fed with the warm thermal springs water. I picked this room for the plunge pool and the fact that it’s an adults-only room, so you’ll be further from any children at the resort (and get a bit more quiet). The plunge pool is outside on a private deck area surrounded by greenery, so you can get the whole Tabacon hot springs experience by yourself for an extra romantic experience. 

The room itself was super comfortable, with a plush king-size four poster bed, sitting area with couch and table, bathroom with double vanity, and large shower. The room was huge, at over 750 square feet. 

Robes are provided in every room that you can wear to and from the hot springs.

Room rates at Tabacón include:

  • Free access to the hot springs
  • Hotel guest-only access to the hot springs from 8 am to 10 am
  • Access to adults-only Shangri-La Gardens, an open-air, adults-only lounge exclusive for hotel guests
  • Daily breakfast
  • Welcome fruit platter
  • In-room coffee and tea
  • Turndown service 
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free international calls
  • Fitness Center
  • Free valet parking 

Insider Tips for Maximizing Your Tabacón Hot Springs Experience 

Tabacon Hot Springs at Tabacon Resort and Spa
  • Reserve a cabana (which are free) early in the day, as they all get taken by early afternoon. This gives you a place to stash your stuff, as well as some shade for when you want to cool off. 
  • Bring water shoes, as the hot springs are rocky. I cut my foot on the rocks, and water shoes would have made walking around a lot easier. 
  • The hot springs are the most crowded in the late afternoon. If you’re staying in the hotel, take advantage of the guests-only hours from 8 am to 10 am, when the hot springs are super peaceful.
  • Make sure to visit the Shangri-La Garden at the top of the hot springs, an adults-only oasis that’s much quieter than the main hot springs. There are private cabanas for relaxing, waterfalls, and small pools up here, along with a bar. 
  • Stay hydrated! The resort gives guests reusable water bottles—definitely fill them up and take them to the hot springs with you. It’s easy to get dehydrated when soaking in warm water under the Costa Rican sun.
  • Chilled pools are available around the hot springs in case you need to cool off. 
  • Most rooms are about a 10-minute walk to the hot springs, but there is also a free shuttle if you don’t want to walk.
  • You can use your room key (which is a small keycard on a bracelet) to pay for food and drink at the hot springs.

Tabacón Hot Springs Day Pass

Cabanas at Tabacon Hot Springs Costa Rica

If a stay at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa isn’t in your price range, non-hotel guests can buy a Tabacón hot springs day pass. Day pass guests can use the hot springs from 10 am to 10 pm. A day pass to Tabacón Hot Springs costs $89 for adults and $47 for children. However, note that Tabacón limits the number of day passes sold so the hot springs don’t get too crowded, so it’s best to reserve in advance.

You can also book a Day Pass: Hot Springs and Culinary Experience package which costs $158 for adults and $52 for children and includes hot springs access and lunch or dinner at the resort’s restaurant.

For the day pass, anyone 12 years or older is considered an adult. Children five years old and younger are free, and children aged six to 11 get the discounted rate.  

Lockers and towels are available for day pass guests to use for free, however, you will need to put down a $20 deposit to ensure you return the key and towel. 

Tabacón Spa La Fortuna

Spa at Tabacon

The spa at Tabacón is one of the most beautiful spas I’ve ever seen. The open-air spa consists of bungalows tucked in among the trees, where you can get a treatment in complete privacy while still enjoying the rainforest atmosphere.  

Take advantage of being near the Arenal Volcano and book the volcanic mud massage, a decadent rub down using warm mud to hydrate, soften, and soothe your skin and muscles. 

I liked that you could book your spa treatment online, which made things easy, and I recommend reserving before you arrive as the spa fills up fairly quickly. 

Tabacón Restaurants

Drinks at Tabacon Hot Springs

There are two restaurants and four bars at Tabacón resort. Tucanes highlights traditional dishes inspired by the seven provinces of Costa Rica, and is a good place to try local cuisine. There are a good mix of options on the menu, from lighter salads to steaks that will satisfy whatever you’re in the mood for. 

I preferred Ave, which was the more casual restaurant, and served fun snacks (like a falafel board) and classic Costa Rican dishes like casado (rice and beans with a choice of protein). Lots of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan items are clearly marked on the menu at both breakfasts. 

Breakfast is included for hotel guests, and is a massive buffet with fresh fruits and juices, Costa Rican coffee, pastries, eggs, and more. 

All of the bars at Tabacón serve food as well. Agua Ardiente, located poolside, is the place for tostadas and tacos. The adults-only Shangri-La bar was my favorite spot for lunch as it serves more elevated bites, like poke bowls. The Cana Brava lobby bar is more of a lounge and a good spot for an after-dinner drink and dessert. 

Is Tabacón All-Inclusive?

No, Tabacón Resort is not all-inclusive but breakfast is included with all room rates. The resort definitely has the feel of an all-inclusive (because it’s such a destination that you don’t want to leave), so it would be nice if they did offer an all-inclusive option.

Is Tabacón Adults-Only?

No, Tabacón Thermal Resort and the hot springs are not adults-only. However, the Shangri-La area of Tabacón Hot Springs is adults-only (for 18 years and older).

Hot springs at Tabacon Resort & Spa Costa Rica

How Far is Tabacón From the Airport?

The closest airport to Tabacón Resort & Spa is Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, which is approximately a 2.5-hour drive. Juan Santamaría International Airport, in Río Segundo, is about a 3-hour drive away.

How Many Nights Should You Stay at Tabacón?

I stayed for two nights at Tabacón Resort, which I thought was the perfect amount of time. You definitely want to have at least one full day here to experience the hot springs, but I think staying three nights or more would get a little bit boring.

How Much Does Tabacón Resort Cost?

I booked my stay at Tabacón Resort on Booking, and paid around $925 per night for the room with a private plunge pool. However, the cheaper rooms (without a pool) start at around $500 per night. I think the price was absolutely worth it—the hot springs are one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I’ve ever been in my life. Having guest-only access during morning hours meant having some of the pools all to ourselves, which was an incredible experience.  

It was also nice to just be able to go back to the room and relax whenever we wanted to, and to cool off during the day in the air conditioning when the sun got too hot. I would not have wanted to deal with driving to and from the hot springs and having to go back to a different hotel to shower and change. 

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